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The Atrocity Archives: Book 1 in The Laundry Files Paperback – 5 Jul 2007

4.0 out of 5 stars 87 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; New Ed edition (5 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841495697
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841495699
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 2.3 x 17.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 192,844 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


This dark, funny blend of SF and horror reads like James Bond written in the style of H.P. Lovecraft (WATERSTONE'S BOOKS QUARTERLY)

Book Description

The world's first science fiction/Lovecraftian horror/Humorous spy thriller.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I must say I'm a bit bemused by some of the earlier let's at least try to cut the confusion a bit. First, the book "The Atrocity Archives" (note the plural) contains two separate items: the short novel "The Atrocity Archive" (singular) and the long short story/short novelette "The Concrete Jungle". They are part of a series, i.e. they make use of the same characters in the same world, but there is no reason to expect plot continuity, any more than there would be reason to expect plot continuity between two separate episodes of Star Trek or two Agatha Christie Poirot stories. The separateness of the stories is quite clear from the layout of the book: why some earlier reviewers wanted to read them as one beats me completely. Oh well.

Second, this is actually Charlie Stross's first book, though it's clearly been reissued on the back of his later success, and yes, it does show. This is a book written as a side project by an IT professional, and one feels that other IT professionals were the intended audience. It does, indeed, work better if you're a geek (I'm not, but I am a university physicist so I got most of the in jokes). When it was originally published, the publishers obviously felt, probably rightly, that an introduction by Ken Macleod would help to sell this unknown author - the subtext, that if you like Macleod you're likely to like Stross, is completely justified in my opinion. Yes, the intro could have been dropped for this reissue, but it would probably have cost money to do so.

The stories in this book (and its sequel, "The Jennifer Morgue") are written as affectionate pastiches of classic spy novels, as the Afterword makes clear.
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Format: Paperback
The Atrocity Archives is a small book compared to the door-stoppers of modern fantasy and SF, weighing in at only 299 pages once you discount the introduction, afterword and (a very necessary) glossary of terms and abbreviations. But don't let that put you off. The sheer number of ideas contained in those few pages is just mind-numbingly amazing, and keeps the story racing along at break-neck pace.

The premise: The Laundry, a top-secret government agency with the duty of protecting the world from unseen horrors--a troop of Nazis existing on an alternate universe, breaking through the dimensions of space and time; terrorist capable of summoning demons, et cetera, etc! And how does The Laundry do this? With magic of course! Not the Gandalf type, though, but by harnessing technology... For with pure mathematics, anything is possible...

When Bob Howard, a low level techie at The Laundry, goes and gets himself noticed by his superiors, his trouble begins...Forced onto assignments where he's frequently in danger, Bob doesn't think things can get any worse ( a very dangerous thing to think in an organization which uses advanced mathematics to compel there employees to tell the truth!) of course they do!

At times too concentrated with jargon and surplus info, this book is nonetheless a cracking read. Some parts are very funny (particularly when you meet his house-mates, Pinky and The Brain!) and the office characters crucifying Bob (metaphorically) for overdue paperwork, etc will be very real to those unfortunate enough to work for a top secret government agency...or just a normal office!

Very nearly Nine out of Ten, the best Stross book I've read yet!

For more reviews, amazing and regular competitions, and author interviews visit: [...]
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Format: Hardcover
It's difficult to review this book without comparing it to other authors, simply because they share certain common moods. The actual story concept is original, a fusion of espionage, horror, and SF that won't necessarily appeal to readers who are purists in any one of these genres, but is hugely enjoyable if you can take it all in.
Briefly, the story revolves around agents for a British intelligence organisation tasked with suppressing certain mathematical concepts; the ones that are the keys to other dimensions, most of them containing entities implacably hostile to mankind. The trouble is that they happen to be very interesting mathematical concepts, the ones that are close to the cutting edge of computer research, and there are a lot of people out there that are working on them. In the past it took thousands of man-hours to screw up reality, today a laptop can do it in sceonds. This can result in horrific accidents and is potentially the ultimate terrorist weapon. There is an uneasy peace between the world's intelligence agencies, which pool resources to counter this threat, but things haven't always been that way. The ultimate threat of the book is a remnant of Nazi research from the second world war, and turns out to be much nastier than expected.
I enjoyed everything in this book, from the home-life of the hacker/agent hero to its final apocalyptic scenes on a dying alien world. Thoroughly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
The Atrocity Archives, if I must harp on, yet again demonstrates the versatility of Charles Stross' writing. And provides a really good reason to become a fan now.
This is a well conceived mix of spy thriller, Cthulhu-esque terror and comic romp - as our hero (A technical support adviser, for the secret British agency known only as The Laundry) Bob Howard braves the terrors of the unknown universe, middle management, undead nazis and other things both Squibbous and Rugose.
The first tale - The Atrocity Archive (note no 'S') itself it intelligent, witty and imaginative; and leaves you screaming out for more from Bob Howard. Which is quite fortunatly answered straight away by the follow on novlette "The Concrete Jungle", which makes up the last third of the book.
Here Bob is entangled in another plot to turn all of Britain's CCTV cameras into lethal disintegration rays using a 'magic' system, and he must track down the psychotic hackers who have taken it upon themselves to sludge various unwitting members of the public. Can he figure out who, why and where?!
Two tales, both super - and both part of what we can only hope becomes an ongoing series (if the world were truly right - a TV series). And Mr Stross is currently writing the second watch these spaces.
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